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The internet is taking over our society in ways we never would have thought possible ten years ago and even five years ago. I know I personally wouldn’t have passed half the classes I did in high school if it weren’t for my access to the internet. Technology is growing rapidly within our world and I foresee the future generations relying even more heavily on the internet than we currently do. In what ways has the internet grown into this crutch that the population of the world needs in order to stand among society? The rise of social media, the idea of a global village and the rise of internet streaming sites have all participated in creating the internet a massive pot of information and entertainment.
As someone from the youngest generation in the class, my generation and, now gradually the older generations, are getting their media from the internet. The rise of social media has made finding and receiving media extremely and often times forced. Something that we looked at in our group project was how Facebook has become a bottomless pool of media. It’s nearly impossible to escape the current election when scrolling through your Facebook feed. If I were to scroll through my Facebook feed at this current moment, I would see at least four or five posts talking about Trump. On the right side of the Facebook window, there’s now even a place where you can look at what is currently trending and read all about celebrity news as well as current world events. Facebook isn’t the only type of social media network that pushes media on consumers. Outlets like Snapchat, Tumblr, Twitter and sometimes, but not as often, Instagram all push media down the throats of the average internet user. A few years ago, we didn’t have social media applications like Snapchat or Tumblr and Twitter. In fact, the term ‘social media’ wasn’t even a coined term. This growth of the wide web through apps other than just a web browser will continue to grow as we see a wave of media crash over the public in new ways. For the group project, I talked about the current election. The current election has changed the way media is received. Back in 2008 when Obama was elected, I remember sitting in English class in the eighth grade watching the inauguration on television. Live streaming from the internet was not even around in 2008. In 2012, an article was posted on the BBC website about what livestreaming was. Until that point, people weren’t totally sure what livestreaming was or what it meant. Now, anyone from any country in the world can go online and live stream anything that’s being broadcast whether it’s news coverage or just a live stream of kittens playing with yarn. Anyone in the world can live stream from anywhere as long as there’s access to the internet. The invention of smart phones has made the internet easier to access and it all lies in the pocket of your jeans.
As we saw with Marshall McLuhan, the world is becoming a global village. We are all connected to one another through the internet and each of us have access to the same information, entertainment, and forms of communication. This idea of a global village will only grow and increase; becoming more obvious as time goes on. A lot of points were made in class on Wednesday when each of us presented our final project topics. A few of the people from the younger generation, including myself, have expressed the fact that we meet people on the internet that we otherwise would never have talked to in our lives. I have multiple friends from overseas that I have never met in person and have only skype called. Some of them I have never seen at all aside from pictures on their Facebook pages. An example of this global village that McLuhan predicts is the current election. Ask anyone in the world who has access to the internet and they will know exactly who Donald Trump is. Media has become something that we can all access and I don’t doubt that will continue to grow. The internet is going to become so big that we will soon have devices that we can wear on us to make sure we’re always actively connected. As of right now, we have the Apple watch which has become the start of the wearable technology through which people can always be connected to the internet and the pixelated world that we currently see as fantasy which will very soon become our reality. In fact, it already has started to become our reality. A lot of people believe that anything we see on the internet is true. I can go onto a website like WebMD and search for symptoms of a cold I’ve been having. WebMD can very easily mislead me into thinking I’m dying all because I have similar symptoms of a deadly disease.
Aside from McLuhan’s global village, we also see the idea of the hypodermic model coming into play heavily within this rise of this reliance of the internet. The internet is the perfect example of the hypodermic model. We have access to all types of media right at our fingertips. With news stations, you always have to wait to hear the story you want. They are constantly advertising that it will be coming up at five o’clock and then you end up sitting through six stories before you see the one you want. On the internet, we can hear about a certain story and then instantly do a quick google search to find it in real time. This method of media consumption is much more satisfying to the user. Instead of having to wait for what we want, we can get what we want when we want it. I’m afraid this will cause the human population to decline in the department of patience skills. With the ability to access things instantaneously, our ability to wait and learn patience will, in turn, decline.
The rise of the internet’s success and popularity is causing big cable companies to shake in their boots. People no longer want to pay for cable services because of services like Hulu and Netflix. As a result of this, cable companies that also run internet such as Verizon or Comcast have been slowing down consumers’ internet speeds due to Netflix not wanting to pay a fee and the fact that Netflix is now taking all of their consumers. I think in the future we won’t even have cable anymore. The future will bring the internet to our living rooms through our television sets rather than our computers. We will be able to pay for what we want and not worry about what we don’t. It’ll make watching and paying for television much simpler.
The internet is going to eventually take over everything. There won’t be TV’s like there are now. There won’t be newspapers anymore. Any device that can access the internet will replace all other forms of receiving news and other types of media. The internet is our ultimate future. Many good things will come out of this internet powered world. We’ll all be connected in a global village. We will all be able to share information with one another. We’ll be able to better customize our media viewing experiences and gain access to information and media we otherwise never would have been able to. What negative effects could this have on the generations to come? Only time will tell as we delve into the internet age.
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